One of the greatest football teams ever didn't compete in a bowl game. Their story and long awaited reconition is here.

The team was the school's best ever, but it never went to a bowl game, because the only bowl games that wanted the Dons were in the Deep South. It was an era of segregation, and the promoters let it be known they would invite USF only if the Dons left their two black players behind.

The team refused. "We said, 'Bull -- . If they don't go, we don't go,' " backup quarterback Bill Henneberry remembered. "There was never any question."
A truck driver blows a 7.27 blood alcohol level. That's just brutal.


Man may penetrate the outer reaches of the universe, he may solve the very secret of eternity itself but for me, the ultimate human experience is to witness the flawless execution of the hit-and-run.-Branch Rickey

Noam Chomsky famously criticized sport for its ability to distract the masses and foster a culture of conformity. Couch potatoes are routinely chastised for allowing a sports-fueled creeping inertia swallow their aspirations in a lazy frenzy of voyeurism and provincialism. Occasionally defenders will make allusions to the grander design of sport, but it's largely been considered a "lower" form of entertainment.

Now, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht has written a lively and thoughtful treatise on sport that argues it is few things if not beautiful. Largely a reaction to the fact that "most contemporary academic analyses of ''sport" as a cultural phenomenon tend to be socially patronizing, dismissive of sports fans as having fallen for a modern-day version of the old bread and circus treatment. Such thinkers, he argues, ''find it difficult to admit that the fascination with sports can have respectable roots in the realm of aesthetic appeal."

Throughout ''In Praise of Athletic Beauty" Gumbrecht anchors his position in Immanuel Kant's "Critique of Judgment" arguing that sport has "beauty" grounded in "purposiveness" and "subjective universality".

He also makes a novel defense of the banality of athletes as they struggle to convey the beuaty that is sport; they see the game they play in simple terms which allows them to understand it in fundamental ways. If a battery saw pitching with the complexity of, say, George Will, they'd create doubt and nuance, the enemy of effective action. But luckily we are not constrained, share with me the most beautiful acts of sport you have ever witnessed.


"There is overwhelming evidence that urban sprawl has been beneficial for many people."

So starts Robert Bruegmann in his lively, and far reaching, defense of sprawl.

He starts by telling us all the good that sprawl brings (better material standard of living, lower crime, decrease in pollution and traffic) and then goes on to deconstruct that ire directed towards "the 'burbs".

When asked, most Americans declare themselves to be against sprawl, just as they say they are against pollution or the destruction of historic buildings. But the very development that one individual targets as sprawl is often another family's much-loved community. Very few people believe that they themselves live in sprawl, or contribute to sprawl. Sprawl is where other people live, particularly people with less good taste. Much anti-sprawl activism is based on a desire to reform these other people's lives.

At the core of anti-sprawl sentiment is overriding snobbiness that is as much a reflection of our aspirations as our accomplishments.

Class-based aesthetic objections to sprawl have always been the most important force motivating critics. It seems that as society becomes richer and the resources devoted to securing basics like food and shelter diminish, aesthetic issues loom larger.

So while some battles against sprawl wrap themselves in warm and fuzzy environmentalist language, Bruegmann argues it's really little more than an adverse aesthetic reaction to "the others"


The Time Distortion Paradox. How do we harness time through technology (e.g. through Tivo and OnDemand technologies) and at the same time speed it up as same said technology wants to do?

blogs come at us with information layered ontop of yesterday's info cycle quicker than you can blink, but what happens when you haven't had the chance to digest what happened yesterday? It can be as simple as an online review of a South Park episode you haven't seen yet, or as complex as a deconstruction of major policy speech that you haven't read. Time is changing. It's moving in both directions, at the same time.


Apparently Bush was warned about Katrina. Imagine that!


The Connie Rice workout. Coming this week to your TV!
So fans of Sean Hannity have their own dating site. (A place where even folks like this guy can hook up.)


Wow. That's all I can say. Donald Rumsfeld's handwritten notes drawing a line straight for Iraq. I'm not going to jump onto any conspiracy theory bandwagons, but this clearly shows a rush to judgment. Wow.


A Wayans tries to cash in on...something. He wants to trademark "Nigga".
A woman has twins. One black. One white. One in a million.


One of the best (i.e. most reasonable) articles about the port fiasco. Not as fun as ignorance-fueled hysteria, but common sense still has a place...


Frank Fukuyama's mea culpa (sort of) is getting a ton of press in the blogsphere and beyond. Not only a public lamblasting of the misguided wanderings of the neo-cons in this administration, a tight and meaningful prescription for American foreign policy post-Iraq.

He's most dead on when he talks about the cognitive dissonance between neo-cons abhorance for social experiments domestically but their almost gleeful willingness to radicalize foreign policy.


Bin Laden offers a "truce". This is a fascinating and important development. It will be interesting to see how the United State's policy of not negotiating with terrorists will be held to this new situation.


It appears Chinese mariners may have beaten Columbus to the New World. Interesting.


The NY Times with a cheat sheet describing Alito's position on major issues.
Fresh on the heels of our discussion about veterans making peaceful politicians (and thanks for all the great feedback btw) Slate weighs in with the notion that drunks are the best leaders.


Here's a human face made completely by computers. Amazing.
Interesting piece about why the Supreme Court tends to make justices liberal.

(short answer: “fundamental attribution error”)


Right is more precious than peace. -- Woodrow Wilson

I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity. -- Dwight David Eisenhower

War leaves an indelible mark on a man. It seems the witnesses of the carnage of battle are working the hardest to find peaceful alternatives and just resolutions.

John McCain's successful campaign to pass anti-torture legislation was in no small part driven by the time he spent in the Hanoi Hilton. While pundits and politicians argue about the effectiveness of torture, it took one who experienced it to galvanize the political opposition.

Ariel Sharon's stroke may have ended the latest effort at reaching a peaceful compromise in the region and it raises again the possibility that ex-soldiers are the best to lead us to peace. Sharon was involved in every major Israeli battle since the 1948 War for independence, including the slaughter that occurred in the refugee camps of Sabra and Shatila. His first wife died in a car crash, his second to cancer. His 10 year old son died in his arms. The old soldier had seen enough death and was working for peace when his stroke occurred.

One doesn't have to look far to find examples of vets who fought in wars and later fought War. Examples include Colin Powell, the impotent "dove" of the Bush administration, who not only supported McCain's anti-torture bill, he also was the cabinet member most reluctant to invade Iraq. At the dawn of the Cold-War, Eisenhower, the general turned US President, famously warned of a military industrial complex and its systemic opposition to peace. During the Vietnam war battle scarred returning veterans infused energy and credibility to the anti-war movement.

It's difficult not to compare and contrast the beliefs about war these men have to so-called "chicken-hawks". It's long been believed that men who have never seen battle are more likely to send other men to battle for less reason. Is the corollary that old-warriors are best suited to lead us to peace?


Tonight the most anticipated college football game of the past 50 years will finally be played. Two undefeated conference champions match up in what's slated as a game for the ages. At the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the two-time defending national champs USC Trojans will be going for an unprecedented third straight title. Led by a backfield that possess two Heisman winners (and perhaps next year's winner as well) USC is an offensive juggernaut the likes of which hasn't been seen in decades.

On the other side of the ball is a Texas team lead by a dynamic and breathtaking QB with a golden arm and enough running ability to leave Michael Vick awestruck.

USC's suspect defense is seemingly healthy again and Texas' choker reputation seems to be left in the dust of last year's Rose Bowl victory leading this blogger to believe that tonight will be a game that our grandchildren will ask us about.

So let's hear your picks. USC or UT? Will the game itself live up to the hype? (Is it possible that any game can?) Which of USC's plethora of stars will prove most valuable? Will Vince Young handle the defensive schemes of a coach who can be considered nothing short of genius? What does the Ohio State/Notre Dame game tell us about tonight? And if USC wins, where do they rank against the all-time teams?
Why did some parts of the world achieve so much more than others? Huge disparities in wealth, scientific knowledge, and military might have been evident throughout the globe throughout time. These gaps have created conflict and opportunity, but genesis of these gaps have long been debated.

Jared Diamond's "Guns, Germs, and Steel" recently waded into this long-waging ideological battle. In it he states that the dominance of some people over others is largely the result of geographic happenstance. A popular new book however has fired a volley over Diamond's bow. "The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success" by Rodney Stark argues that Christian thought, as much as anything, has lead to Western dominance in the modern world.

Why did Europeans excel at metallurgy, shipbuilding, or farming? The most convincing answer to these questions attributes Western dominance to the rise of capitalism, which also took place only in Europe." He traces the origins of capitalism to the belief in reason, which he in turn locates uniquely in Christian theology: "While the other world religions emphasized mystery and intuition, Christianity alone embraced reason and logic as the primary guide to religious truth."

While seemingly an ancient dynamic, Stark argues that Christianity's reach isn't nearing an apex. Conversely:

"[t]he fact is that Christianity is becoming globalized far more rapidly than is democracy, capitalism, or modernity." He locates this spectacular growth in part to Christianity's "appeal to reason and the fact that it is so inseparably linked to the rise of Western Civilization. For many non-Europeans, becoming a Christian is intrinsic to becoming modern. Thus," he concludes, "it is quite plausible that Christianity remains an essential element in the globalization of modernity."